Guillermo Del Toro’s Hellboy II Has A Lot In Common With One Of The Greatest DC Comics Of All Time

Would the world be better for our freakish heroes if the people they save were gone? Someone who thinks so is the film’s villain, Prince Nuada (Luke Goss). A forest elf who’s seen his people’s territory shrink to human industrialization over centuries, Nuada is ready to exterminate humanity with the Golden Army.

Nuada is Mother Earth’s wrath on mankind, which he takes literally by unleashing a Forest God — an enormous, tentacled plant beast — into New York. In any other superhero movie, this would only be the big CGI monster existing only for the heroes to fight and destroy. Yet del Toro gives it pathos. The Forest God is a living creature too, not inherently malicious, and the last of its kind. Hellboy does ultimately destroy it, but its death is played mournfully, not with triumph. The creature’s corpse dissolves into new greenery across the cityscape, signaling new life that comes from the death of the old. The environmental themes of “Hellboy II” are the clearest link to Swamp Thing; Nuada is following the same mission as Swamp Thing but to an extreme.

James Mangold will be directing a new Swamp Thing film for the DC Universe, walking in the footsteps of Wes Craven (who made a shlocky “Swamp Thing” movie in 1982). Mangold’s “Logan” is a rare superhero movie with true emotional weight, but I hope he can capture the romantic spirit of Alec Holland. If he needs a model, look no further than “Hellboy II: The Golden Army.”

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